Whether you’re a power user or a casual one, you need a dependable way to store your data. For this IDrive review, we’ll talk about its features, security measures, pricing, and find out if this cloud backup tool is right for you.
Sure, you can use storage devices like external hard drives and thumb drives but they tend to break or can be misplaced. Fortunately, there are many online storage services where you can upload your critical data for safekeeping and recover them in case of emergencies.
When it comes to cloud storage solutions and disaster recovery tool, IDrive is one of the more popular ones.
Pros & Cons
IDrive Review: What is IDrive?
Just to be clear, IDrive is a cloud backup tool as opposed to being a cloud storage solution.
Cloud backup is a tool used to securely back up all of your important files and keep it safe. So in case something goes wrong, you can easily recover the data. Cloud storage, on the other hand, is a tool that stores your files and is synced or shared across different devices.
So which one is better? Well, this will all depend on your needs and requirements.
Cloud backup services like IDrive will back up the data stored on multiple devices by creating a copy of the files. These files can be restored or recovered in the event that the original files get corrupted or lost and become unretrievable.
For instance, if your computer gets infected by a virus or crashes, you can recover the copy of those important files from your IDrive account.
From IDrive’s About Page:
Cloud backup is the centerpiece of any disaster recovery plan. IDrive helps you to protect data through regular online backups. That way your data is available right when you need it, as well as stored safely off-site. While most other cloud services charge per device, IDrive protects multiple devices, at a single price.
Before we delve deeper into IDrive’s features and functions, let’s first take a quick glance at the online backup’s key features:
- Backup data from all your devices
- A unique folder with the name of the device will be created in your cloud backup account for easy accessibility and prevents data overlap
- Secure online backups for running databases and servers
- Continuous Data Protection (CDP) feature
- Data is protected using 256-bit AES encryption during transfer and stored in highly secure data centers
- True Archiving
- Manage data backups of all your remote computers
- Ship data in temporary storage devices with IDrive Express.
IDrive Review: Features
IDrive is primarily a tool for recovering lost data from instances like hard drive crashes or file corruptions.
One of the best things about IDrive is that its desktop client is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux – one of the few online backup tools to support all three OS. In addition, IDrive also has smartphone apps for iOS and Android.
With many cloud storage providers, the app is simply a way to access all the files that have been uploaded or backed up. IDrive’s app is different because it can be used to back up phone data as well. You can use both Android and iOS apps to make backups of your contacts, events, messages, media, and more. Plus, you can even use IDrive to back up your Facebook and Instagram accounts.
True Archiving Feature
IDrive also boasts a True Archiving feature which means that no data will be deleted on your cloud account unless you manually delete or run 'Archive Cleanup' to match the data on your computer with the account.
It’s also worth mentioning that IDrive offers a feature called IDrive Express. Basically, the service will back up your data on an external drive and will be shipped to your address. It’s a fairly standard offering for many cloud storage services but it’s definitely nice to know that you have this option with IDrive.
IDrive Review: User Interface
IDrive succeeds in striking a balance between information and design with its desktop client’s interface. The client allows you to access a wide range of feature sets but is presented in a reasonably compact dashboard interface. Unlike many desktop clients we’ve seen, IDrive doesn’t overwhelm you with options and buttons.
The main screen of the client is, of course, the Backup section. As you launch the client, IDrive will estimate the size of the files that you wish to back up. From here, you can perform your initial backup or you can schedule a specific time when the backup process will be performed via the Scheduler tab. This allows you to back up your files in a more convenient time since the process can be very taxing to the computer.
Restoring files is about as simple as it gets. IDrive gives you the option to restore your entire backup or only specific files. When restoring, you can set whether to restore the file in its original location or to any other place in your computer.
IDrive Review: File Syncing and File Sharing
More and more online backup services are implementing file syncing and IDrive happens to be one of the better implementations of the feature.
Once you have installed the client, it creates a new Sync folder on all of the linked devices. IDrive will then automatically sync all the contents across all the linked devices. A great bonus is that the Sync online storage space will match the backup storage size at no extra cost.
So basically, if you have a 1TB of backup storage, you should get 1TB of sync space as well. In comparison, Dropbox will charge you $99/year for just 1TB. IDrive is really driving a hard value here.
In terms of file sharing, IDrive has a very limited implementation of the feature. It’s very limited because you can only share your files with other IDrive users. You can configure if the recipient can edit or just view the file. There’s a Shared by Me tab in the IDrive web interface where you can view the shared files and remove sharing permission if you want.
For backing up a full disk-image, IDrive doesn’t allow uploading to the cloud. However, you can still back up disk images on an external hard drive with IDrive.
IDrive Review: Mobile Apps
IDrive mobile apps for iOS and Android don’t really look much, I must say that they look bland. However, what the app lacks in design makes up for its robustness.
When viewing the files, you can preview before downloading. When viewing photos and videos, the app provides a thumbnail so you’ll easily know which file is which at a glance. From here, you can also generate a link for sharing a particular file.
A little more visual polish can go a long way in making the app better.
IDrive Review: Speed
In general, online backup tools will take a long time before completion. It all depends on the size of your backup. It can take days or even weeks to back up an entire system. If you’re not too keen about waiting, you can avail of the IDrive Express feature and your backup will be sent to your doorsteps.
If IDrive Express doesn’t appeal to you, you’ll be happy to know that this online backup tool offers a pretty decent performance.
We performed a test where we uploaded and downloaded a 1GB test file. The test was conducted over a wired network. Download speed is about 50Mbps while upload speed is about 10Mbps.
When we uploaded the file, it took about 19 minutes to complete. For downloading, the 1GB file took a little 4 minutes to complete. For the most part, it’s very close to our estimated times, if not better. There’s an option to throttle the speeds if you think that the backup process takes too much of the system resources.
IDrive Review: Security and Privacy
Security and privacy are areas where IDrive excels.
Both in-transit and at-rest encryption use 256-bit AES, a protocol that has yet to be cracked. Like with most online backup services, IDrive will hold onto your key for decrypting your data. So, in case you lose your password, the company can reset the password for you.
There’s also the option to provide your own private encryption key but you can only do this step upon signing up and before you upload your first file. However, we won’t recommend this approach since there’s always the possibility that someone can get hold of your password.
Unfortunately, IDrive doesn’t offer a two-factor authentication for an added layer of security. The program does allow you to remotely disconnect a synced device if ever it gets compromised.
As for their data centers, IDrive servers are all secured and maintained in the United States.
IDrive Review: Customer Support
IDrive’s customer support is available 24/7 which just can’t be said with other online backup services.
The 24/7 support is true for both email and live chat. I tried getting in touch with an IDrive support representative at 1 am and was able to connect with a person. In comparison, Carbonite doesn’t even offer live chat at all, and Backblaze’s live chat is only available only during business hours on weekdays. If you prefer to reach support via email, you can fill up a support form online.
In case you prefer to handle the issue by yourself, IDrive features a fairly extensive knowledge base complete with tutorials, videos, and FAQs. The company also has a phone line but it’s only available during business hours on weekdays.
Overall, I am very satisfied with what IDrive has to offer in terms of customer support. It doesn’t hurt that their customer representatives are also very knowledgeable and were able to help me with my inquiries.
IDrive Review: Pricing
IDrive offers two main plans. The Personal gives you 2TB of storage space for $$ per year, and 5TB for $$$ annually. The other one is IDrive Business which offers 250GB of space for $$$ for the first year for the base plan.
For your first-year subscription, you are actually receiving a discount from the standard $$ price.
There’s no plan for unlimited storage space but you can easily avail of a certain that fits your needs. For the personal plan, it’s worth noting that you are not just getting 2TB or 5TB of backup space but you are also getting 2TB or 5TB of sync space.
If you wish to try out the service, you can sign up for a free account and you get 5GB of space. It’s likely not enough to back up anything significant from your system but it’s a good way to take the online backup service for a spin. IDrive also offers a 30-day enterprise trial for 1TB of backup space.
IDrive Review: The Verdict
You’ve arrived at the end of this IDrive review.
IDrive is an amazing online backup service that comes with a ton of useful features in a very solid package. Plus, the pricing plans are quite flexible and affordable at the same time. It’s a bit more expensive than other services like Backblaze but it’s well worth the asking price.
With that said, IDrive is highly recommended for individuals and businesses that are looking to back up more than a single device.
Featured image via Amazon logo, text and banner added